Sunday, February 27, 2011

You don’t need a gym

***This post is reposted from my personal blog here.

A few weeks ago, I watched an episode of The Biggest Loser where one team was “locked out” of the gym.  I was annoyed when Jillian Michaels whined and complained about this twist.  She kept saying how much of a disadvantage it is not to have a gym.  Meanwhile, her team [spoiler alert] smoked the other team in the weigh-in.

I know a lot of the histrionics are for television, but I would prefer the message being that you don’t need a gym or gym equipment to get in a good workout.  Why do you need a treadmill when you have beautiful weather outside?  Why do you need weights when you have your own body weight and resistance bands?  Gyms and weights make working out more convenient, but it doesn’t define what you can accomplish.

bodybackI recently attended training to become certified in a program called Body Back.  It is a results-based “bootcamp” style class that uses high intensity interval training (HIIT).  The instructor basically killed us all day long and we didn’t use a single exercise machine.  The only equipment we used were resistance bands, ten pound dumbbells, and bosu balls.  Our first workout was done outside and was the hardest workout I have ever done.  We did sprinting and plyometrics for cardio, including a killer sprint up a steep hill.  We did pullups, pushups, one-legged deep dips, and arm exercises using resistance bands.

The second workout of the day involved rounds of alternating cardio, strength and core exercises.  The only equipment we used was a set of resistance bands.  I was pushed so hard I was actually brought to tears.  The tears were not tears of pain or frustration, but a spontaneous cathartic release.  I know it sounds super corny, but the emotional release was very intense and surprising.  Heck, I didn’t even cry when I finished my first marathon.  This physical and emotional breakthrough was done without a gym.

The last workout was a circuit.  It included things like bicep curls, mountain climbers, oblique crunches, ladder sprints, squats, burpies on a bosu ball, chest flies, skull crushers, and jumping jacks.  By the end of the last station, my tank was empty. I was sore for several days and never stepped inside a traditional gym.

I am always inspired by The Biggest Loser and admire how they can change lives with a gym or without.  I am hoping that this class will allow me to change lives in my own small way.  My friend, Heather, has participated in the program in San Diego and has lost over 20 pounds!  This woman ran five half marathons over two years and couldn’t lose those last few pounds of baby weight and was able to do it with an eight week fitness and nutrition program.  I am looking forward to my own clients’ success stories.

What is your favorite workout that doesn't involve a gym?


  1. Ahhh you are totally right! I'm no fitness expert, but there are a billion strength things you can use just with your body. No gym = no excuse. hehe.

  2. I love going to the gym...but if going wasn't an option...I love the TRX!